Entries in Snapshots (34)


Pin-Up Girl

Digital media and Web resources such as Pinterest have revolutionized the way we collect, archive, and share our ideas. Call me old fashioned, but I still appreciate having a physical spot to gather snippets of my favorite things in life, as well as inspiration for personal projects.

I'd been admiring some gorgeous linen pinboards from Restoration Hardware, Horchow, and Pottery Barn for quite some time, but their outrageous price tags had kept me at bay. After stalking them for months without encountering any decent promotions, I decided to roll up my sleeves and make my own. Here's how it all went down!

Since l had a rather large pinboard in mind, I needed a lightweight foundation that could easily be mounted and secured to the wall over my desk. I scored a jumbo 36" x 48" gallery wrapped canvas at Michaels, which was a steal at 40% off (Hooray for couponing!), along with two cork rolls, tacky glue, and some D-ring hardware.

I picked up a yard and a half of écru linen at Mood. I absolutely adore the clean look of raw, unbleached linen - it creates a classic and perfectly neutral backdrop for the assortment of elements that will eventually be pinned to this board.

With the canvas placed facedown on the floor, I started by gluing the cork to its backside. I chose tacky glue as my adhesive since it offers a gummy bond after it dries and will accomodate pushpins nicely. It's like wallpapering - make sure you get an even layer of glue, match up your lines, and press down. Tacky glue is pretty forgiving, so if you need to make any adjustments, all you have to do is gently peel the cork up, reposition, and press.

I used a bunch of heavy books (and a puppy) to keep the cork anchored flat as the glue dried for two hours.

After ironing all the wrinkles out of the linen (Thank you, Chris!!), I laid the canvas on top of the fabric and traced/cut a 3" margin around the perimeter. Next, using the fabric's straight edge to ensure that its weave lines were aligned at the borders, I carefully wrapped and stapled the linen around the wooden frame. I opted to reverse the usual "hospital bed" tucking at the joints to create streamlined, yet interesting corners.

Lastly, I attached hanging hardware to the wooden frame. I used three D-ring hangers in order to support the colossal size of my board. Smaller boards would probably only require two hangers.

Voilà! I now have a lovely & splendidly enormous pinboard! I can't wait to dress it up with beautiful mementos, swatches, and muses. This was an incredibly simple project, and I'd highly recommend it for anybody looking to add a some affordable and functional flair to their walls.


Floral Fixation - Lavender Crème Brûlée

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of madness at work. I'm so glad I finally have a chance to share this recipe with you! Crème brûlée has always been one of my favorite desserts. I just love cracking that sugary top with the back of my spoon to get to the creamy goodness inside. Yum!

I decided to make crème brûlée this year as my Valentine's treat for Chris. For a creative and romantic twist, I tried infusing lavender into the cream. It was a hit! The subtle floral flavor balanced well with the richness of the custard. Crème brûlée is surprisingly easy to make, and I can't wait to give rose, jasmine, chrysanthemum, and violet a whirl sometime.

Lavender Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract  
8 egg yolks
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 325°F. In a saucepan, combine and heat the cream, vanilla extract, salt, and lavender over moderate heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to simmer. 

Remove pan from heat and let the mixture sit at room temperature for about an hour. This gives the lavender flavor extra time to steep into the cream. Isn't this so pretty? :)

Reheat the infused cream to a low simmer, then remove from heat once again.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together into a slightly thickened mixture. Add this to the hot cream while whisking to mix completely. Make sure you pour slowly and mix evenly, to avoid making egg drop soup!!

Strain the custard mix through a fine sieve into a spouted bowl. Skim off any floating bubbles.

Fill six ramekins with the custard mix. Place them in a shallow roasting/baking pan, and add hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Tent the pan with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes. 

Remove the ramekins and allow them to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled.

Dust the top with a thin, even layer of granulated white or turbinado sugar.

Calling all pyromaniacs- here's the fun part! Using a kitchen blowtorch, heat the sugar until it liquefies, bubbles, and browns. You can see Chris going to town with the torch here.

Allow the top to cool to a crisp, glossy coating. Sprinkle some loose flowers on top of you'd like an extra hint of flavor. Enjoy!


Judy's Vanity Flair

Congratulations to my dear friend Judy, who just gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl! Hooray!!

Judy is one of those friends who offers a constant source of encouragement. As neighbors, we often bump into each other on the train, and she is always a sight for sore eyes at the end of a long day. Her smile and optimism are seriously contagious. And how amazing did she look at 9 months?! This lady is beautiful inside and out. I am so blessed to have her in my life, and I know she is going to be a spectacular mother!

I had the fortunate chance to spend a quiet afternoon with Judy at her apartment last Sunday. With baby girl arriving at any moment, we both knew that times like these would be rare and precious. Like true girly girls, we chatted while playing with bags, jewelry, and makeup. I brought my camera along and snapped a few moments. Here's a peek into our afternoon, and a few words from Judy~

"My vanity is from West Elm, and it was the first piece of furniture I had picked out when Simon and I got married over 4 years ago. I wanted it to be sleek and convertible. When I flip the mirror down, this vanity turns into a regular desk, which is convenient."

"I love having a vanity because I love getting all dolled-up for a special occasion, and the vanity is where I can make that happen. But on a daily basis, I spend less than 5 minutes in front of it getting ready for work, because I am always running late! My daily routine is all about time efficiency - Blow dry and style my hair, moisturize, and lay on a light touch of foundation... then I am out the door in less than 15 minutes!"

Judy's Top 5 Beauty Must-Haves:

 1. Yves Saint Laurent Radiant Touch "Touche Éclat" Highlighter Pen - "I get this one shade lighter than my skin color and use it as an under-eye concealer, which instantly hides dark circles. It also works great under the brow bone."

2. BareMinerals Foundation with SPF 15 - "Get the starter kit if you're new to this must-have-for-every-woman foundation! Not only does it even out skin tone and offer full coverage for flaws, it also enhances your natural skin appeal."

3. Hourglass Eyeshadow in Prism - "This color is to die for! I love the black shimmery color that is perfect for a night out. You can also wear this as an eyeliner when it's applied wet with an eyeliner brush."

4. Tarte MultiplEYE Lash Enhancing Liquid Liner - "I cannot live without this liquid eyeliner because it has a great felt tip and dries instantly. Plus, it enhances your natural lashes and makes them look fuller over time."

5. TriLASTIN Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream - "I've used this everyday throughout my pregnancy and I would recommended it to all the preggers out there! One jar lasts about 3-4 months, which is a pretty good deal."

Judy's Top 3 Beauty Tips:
"Q-tips and lotion combined create the perfect eye makeup remover."
"Don't forget to pamper yourself. Massages and facials are so important."
"Vitamins are the key to healthy hair, skin, and nails. Look for multivitamins with a Biotin supplement."

"It's always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed for any occasion."
P.S. - There are two girls sitting at this vanity :)

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